Effects of Roads on Reptiles and Amphibians

Road mortality is a significant threat to amphibian and reptile populations. Here is a list of useful resources.

list compiled by R. Carter and J. Andrews, 3/13/07

Articles and Texts

Adams, L. and A. Geis. 1981. Effects of highways on wildlife. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington D.C., Report No. FHWA-RD-78-92.

Adams, L. and A. Geis. 1983. Effects of roads on small mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology 20:403-415.

Alexander, A.M. and N.M. Waters. 2000. The effects of highway transportation corridors on wildlife: a case study of Banff National Park. Transportation Research Part C 8, 307-320.

Andrews, A. 1990. Fragmentation of habitat by roads and utility corridors: a review. Australian Zoologist 26:130-141.

Ashley, E. and J. Robinson. 1996. Road mortality of amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife on the long point causeway, Lake Erie, Ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist 110(3):403-412.

Barrass, A. 1986. The effects of highway traffic noise on the photonotactic and associated reproductive behavior of selected anurans. Dissertation Abstracts International Sciences and Engineering 46(8):2609.

Barrass, A. and L. Cohn. 1984. Variation of the spacing of calling male Bufo woodhousii and Hyla cinerea near highway noise. American Zoologist 24(3): 15A.

Baur, A. and B. Baur. 1989. Are roads barriers too dispersed in the land snail Arianta arbustorum? Canadian Journal of Zoology 68:613-617.

Berry, K. 1986. Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) research in California, 1976-1985. Herpetologia 42 10:62-67.

Berry, K., and P. Medica. 1995. Desert tortoises in the Mojave and Colorado deserts. In E. Laroe, G. Farris, C. Puckett, P. Doran, and M. Mac (ed.), Our living resources: a report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems, p.135. National Biological Survey, Washington, D.C.

Berven, K. and T. Grudzien. 1990. Dispersal in the wood frog (Rana sylvatica): implications for genetic population structure. Evolution 44(8):2047-2056.

Bisson, P. and R. Bilby. 1982. Avoidance of suspended sediment by juvenile coho salmon. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 4: 371-374.

Boarman, W. and M. Sazaki. 1996. Highway mortality in desert tortoises and small vertebrates: success of barrier fences and culverts. In Evink G., D. Ziegler, P. Garrett, and J. Berry, (ed.), Highways and movement across wildlife: improving habitat connection and wildlife passageways across highway corridors, pp. 169-173. Proceedings of the Florida Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration transportation-related wildlife mortality seminar. Orlando, Florida, May 1996.

Boarman, W., M. Sazaki, and W. Jennings. 1997. The effect of roads, barrier fences, and culverts on desert tortoise populations in California, USA. In J. van Abbema (ed.), Proceedings of the New York Turtle & Tortoise Society: conservation, restoration, and management of tortoises and turtles – an international conference, pp. 54-58. New York, July 1993.

Bugbee, R. 1945. A note on the mortality of snakes on highway in western Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Sciences 47: 373-374.

Bunnell, J. and R. Zampella. 1999. Acid water anuran pond communities along a regional forest to agro-urban ecotone. Copeia 3:614-637.

Burke, V. and J. Gibbons. 1995. Terrestrial buffer zones and wetland conservation: a case study of freshwater turtles in a Carolina bay. Conservation Biology 9:1365-1369.

Campbell, H. 1956. Snakes found dead on the roads of New Mexico. Copeia 1956:124-125.

Carr, L.W., Fahrig, L., 2001. Effect of road traffic on two amphibian species of differing vagility. Conservation Biology 15, 1071-1078.

Clevenger, A. and N. Waltho. 2000. Factors influencing the effectiveness of wildlife underpasses in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Conservation Biology 14:47-56.

Clevenger, A.P., Chruszcz, B., Gunson, K., 2001b. Spatial patterns and factors influencing small vertebrate fauna road-kill aggregations. Biological Conservation 109, 15-26.

Congdon, J., A. Dunham, and R. Van Loben Sels. 1993. Delayed sexual maturity and demographics of Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii): implications for conservation and management of long-lived organisms. Conservation Biology 7:826-833.

Cooke, A. 1988. Mortality of toads (Bufo bufo) on roads near a Cambridgeshire breeding site. Bulletin of the British Herpetological Society 26:29-30.

Cooke, A. 1995. Road mortality of common toads (Bufo bufo) near a breeding site, 1974-1994. Amphibia-Reptilia 16:87-90.

DeMaynadier, P. and M. Hunter Jr. 1999. Forest canopy closure and juvenile emigration by pool-breeding amphibians in Maine. Journal of Wildlife Management 63:441-450.

DeMaynadier, P. and M. Hunter Jr. 2000. Road effects on amphibians movements in a forested landscape. Natural Areas Journal 20:56-65.

Didiuk, A. Conservation actions to reduce mortality of snakes on roads at CFB Suffield and Suffield National Wildlife Area, Alberta. Abstract. The Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network, 7th Annual Meeting. Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 2002.

Diemer, J.E. 1986. The ecology and management of the gopher tortoise in the south-eastern united states. Herpetologica 42:125-133.

Dodd, C. Jr., K. Enge, and J. Stuart. 1988. Reptiles on highways in north-central Alabama, USA. Journal of Herpetology 23:197-200.

Evink, G. (ed.). 2002. Interaction between roadways and wildlife ecology: a synthesis of highway practice. National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, synthesis 305. National Academy Press: Washington D.C., 2002.

Fahrig, L., J. Pedlar, S. Pope, P. Taylor, and J. Wegner. 1994. Effect of road traffic on amphibian density. Biological Conservation 73:177-182.

Findlay, C.S. and J. Houlahan. 1997. Anthropogenic correlates of species richness in southern Ontario wetlands. Conservation Biology 11:1000-1009.

Findlay, C. and J. Bourdages. 2000. Response time of wetland biodiversity to road construction on adjacent lands. Conservation Biology 14:86-94.

Fitzgibbon, K. 2001. An evaluation of corrugated steel culverts as transit corridors for amphibians and small mammals at two Vancouver island wetlands and comparative culvert trials. Unpublished M.A. thesis. Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC.

Forman, R. 2000. Estimate of the area affected ecologically by the road system in the United States. Conservation Biology 14:31-35.

Forman, R. and R. Deblinger. 2000. The ecological road-effect zone of a Massachusetts (U.S.A.) suburban highway. Conservation Biology 14:36-46.

Garland, T. and W. Bradley. 1983. Effects of a highway on Mojave desert rodent populations. American Midland Naturalist 111:47-56.

Gibbs, J.P., Shriver, W.G., 2002. Estimating the effects of road mortality on turtle populations. Conservation Biology 16, 1647-1652.

Gill, D. 1978. The metapopulation ecology of the red-spotted newt, Notophthalmus viridescens (Rafinesque). Ecological Monographs 48(2):145-166.

Gilpin, M., and M. Soule. 1986. Minimum viable populations: processes of species extinction. In M. Soule (ed.). Conservation biology: the science of scarcity and diversity, pp. 19-34. Sinauer: Sunderland, Mass, 1986.

Goodman, S., M. Pidgeon, and S. O’Connor. 1994. Mass mortality of Madagascar radiated tortoise caused by road construction. Oryx 28:115-118.

Hartwell H. Jr. Relictual amphibians and old-growth forests. 1990. Conservation Biology 4:309-319.

Hels, T., and E. Buchwald. 2001. The effect of road kills on amphibian populations. Biological Conservation 99:331-340.

Hels, T. and G. Nachman. 2002. Simulating viability of a spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus metapopulation in a landscape fragmented by a road. Ecography 25:730-744.

Henein, K. and G. Merriam. 1990. The elements of connectivity where corridor quality is variable. Landscape Ecology 4: 155-170.

Jackson, S. and T. Tyning. 1989. Effectiveness of drift fences and tunnels for moving spotted salamanders Ambystoma maculatum under roads. In T. Langton (ed.), Amphibians and roads, proceedings of the toad tunnel conference, pp. 93-99. ACO Polymer Products, Shefford, England.

Jackson, S. 1996. Underpass systems for amphibians. In G.L. Evink, P. Garrett, D. Zeigler and J. Berry (eds.), Trends in addressing transportation related wildlife mortality, Proceedings of the transportation related wildlife mortality seminar, pp. 4. State of Florida Department of Transportation. Tallahassee, Fl, 1996. FL-ER-58-96.

Jackson, S. 2000. Overview of transportation impacts on wildlife movement and populations. In T. Messmer and B. West (eds.), Wildlife and highways; seeking solutions to an ecological and socio-economic dilemma, pp. 7-20. The Wildlife Society.

Jackson, S. and C. Griffin. 2000. A strategy for mitigating highway impacts on wildlife. In T. Messmer and B. West (eds.), Wildlife and highways: seeking solutions to an ecological and socio-economic dilemma, pp. 145-159. The Wildlife Society.

Klemens, M. (ed.). Turtle conservation. Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington D.C., 2000.

Klinkenbeg, J. 1998. Roadkills. St. Petersbug Times (Nov. 11, 1998).

Langton, T. 1989. Amphibians and roads. Proceedings of the toad tunnel conference. Rendsburg, Federal Republic of Germany. ACO Polymer Products Ltd., Shefford, England.

Legler, J. 1960. Natural history of the ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata agassiz. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 11:527-669.

Lehtinen, R., S. Galatowitsch, and J. Tester. 1999. Consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation for wetland amphibian assemblages. Wetlands 19:1-12.

Lesbarreres, D., Lode, T., Merlia, J., 2004. What type of amphibian tunnel could reduce road kills? Oryx 38, 220-223.

Lode, T., 2000. Effect of a motorway on mortality and isolation of wildlife populations. Ambio 29, 163-166.

Lovich, J. 1990. Spring movement patterns of two radio-tagged male spotted turtles. Brimleyana 16:67-71.

Luckenbach, R. 1982. Ecology and management of the desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in California. In R. Bury (ed.), North American tortoises: conservation and ecology, pp. 1-37. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife research report 12.

Mader, H. 1984. Animal habitat isolation by roads and agricultural fields. Biological Conservation 29:81-96.

Marsh, D. and P. Trenham. 2000. Metapopulation dynamics and amphibian conservation. Conservation Biology 15:40-49.

Martinez-Solano, I., J. Bosch, and M. Garcia-Paris. 2003. Demographic trends and community stability in a montane amphibian assemblage. Conservation Biology 17:238-242.

Mitchell, J.C., A.R. Breisch, and K.A. Buhlmann. 2006. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Northeastern United States. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Technical Publication HMG-3, Montgomery, Alabama. 108 pages.

Netting, M. 1936. Hibernation and migration of the spotted turtle, Clemmys guttata (Schneider). Copeia 1936:112.

Nicholson, L. 1978. The effects of roads on desert tortoise populations. Proceedings of the Desert Tortoise Council 1978 symposium, pp. 127-129. San Diego, California.

Oxley, D., M. Fenton, and G. Carmody. 2003. The effects of roads on populations of small mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology 11:51-59.

Reed, R., J. Johnson-Barnard, and W. Baker. 1996. Contribution of roads to forest fragmentation in the Rocky Mountains. Conservation Biology 10:1098-1106.

Reh, W. and A. Seitz. 1990. The influence of land use on the genetic structure of populations of the common frog Rana temporaria. Biological Conservation 54:239-249.

Reijnen, R., R. Foppen, C. Braak, J. Thissen. 2003. The effects of car traffic on breeding bird populations in woodlands. III. Reduction of density in relation to the proximity of main roads. Journal of Applied Ecology 32:187-202.

Roberts, D. 2002. The Narcisse snake tunnel project: conservation through co-operation. Abstract. The Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network, 7th annual meeting. Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 2002.

Rodriguez, A., G. Crema, and M. Delbes. 1996. Use of non-wildlife passages across a high speed railway by terrestrial vertebrates. Journal of Applied Ecology 33:1527-1540.

Rosen, P. and C. Lowe. 1994. Highway mortality of snakes in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona. Biological Conservation 68:143-148.

Sadinski, W. and W. Dunson. 1992. A multilevel study of effects of low pH on amphibians of temporary ponds. Journal of Herpetology 26:143-148.

Saunders, D., R. Hobbs, and C. Margules. 1991. Biological consequences of ecosystem fragmentation: A review. Conservation Biology 5:18-32.

Shaffer, M. 1981. Minimum population size for species conservation. BioScience 31:131-134.

Sjogren Gulve, P. 1994. Distribution end extinction patterns within a northern population of the pool frog, Rana lessonae. Ecology 75(5): 1357-1367.

Swihart, R. and N. Slade. 1984. Road crossing in Sigmodon hisidus and Microtus ochrogaster. Journal of Mammalogy 65:357-360.

Trombulak, S. and C. Frissell. 1999. Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Conservation Biology 14:18-30.

Van Gelder J. 1973. A quantitative approach to the mortality resulting from traffic in a population of Bufo bufo L. Oecologia, Berlin 13:93-95.

Van Gelder, J. , H. Aarts, and H.. Staal. 1986. Routes and speed of migrating toads (Bufo bufo): A telemetric study. Herpetological Journal 1:111-114.

Ward, F., C. Hohmann, J. Ulrich, and S. Hill. 1976. Seasonal microhabitat selections of spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata) in Maryland elucidated by radioisotope tracking. Herpetologica 32:60-64.

Welsh, H. Jr. 1990. Relictual amphibians and old-growth forests. Conservation Biology. 4:39-319.

Wood, R. and R. Herlands. 1995. Terrapins, tires and traps: Conservation of the northern diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) on the Cape May Peninsula, New Jersey, USA. In Proceedings International Congress of Chelonian Conservation: Edition SOPTOM (Station d’observation et de protection des tortues des maures), pp. 254-256. Gonfaron France, July 1995.

Yanes, M., J. Velasco and F. Suarez. 1995. Permeability of roads and railways to vertebrates: the importance of culverts. Biological Conservation 71:217-222.

Internet Resources

Government Sites

US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Critter Crossings: Linking Habitats and Reducing Roadkills

Keeping it Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Across European Highways

US Geological Survey

Paynes Prairie Ecopassage Project

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Refuge Roads Progam : Ecology and Biology Online Resources

Private Sites

Center for Transportation and the Environment

Wildlife, Fisheries, and Transportation Web Gateway

Wildlife Crossing Structures Field Course

Defenders of Wildlife

Habitat and Highways Campaign

Other Organizations

International Conference on Ecology and Transportation: useful links

CORDIS. COST 341: Habitat Fragmentation caused by Transportation Infrastructure

Natural Resource Defense Council. The End of the Road: Adverse Ecological Impacts of Roads and Logging: Bibliography

Surface Transportation Policy Project: The CMAQ Program: Funding Cleaner Air

World Bank: Roads and the Environment Handbook: Table of Contents
PDF version (252pp, 18 Mb)

Specific Articles

eScholarship Repository: Evaluation of a Wildlife Underpass on Vermont State Highways 289 in Essex, Vermont

Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads: So Why Didn't the Toad Cross the Road?

Parks Canada Agency: Trans-Canada Highway Twinning:
Highway Mitigation Research in the Mountain Parks
10 quick facts about highway wildlife crossings in the park

National Cooperative Highway Research Program: Interaction Between Roadways and Wildlife Ecology: A Synthesis of Highway Practice (Synthesis 305 )